5 Trends that Have Defined the Last Decade

The 2010s were a challenging yet exciting decade, with so much going on in politics and society. It was also a very busy decade for ever-changing fashion trends and huge shifts in social attitudes towards fashion. According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2010 only 7% of retail sales were online; by 2019, this had risen to 19%.

Social media and online platforms were not utilised to their full potential at the beginning of the 2010s, but by 2017 designers such as Mulberry and Burberry began livestreaming their AW17 catwalk across Instagram. The 2010s also saw the rise of the fashion influencer, which is now a huge marketing strategy for many retail brands.

Philipp Plein Milan fashion week Feb 2020

The last decade has seen so many ups and downs; we have lost fashion icons including Alexander McQueen, Kate Spade, Hubert de Givenchy and Karl Lagerfeld. In 2018, Stella McCartney designed Meghan Markle’s royal wedding dress, while Virgil Abloh became the men’s artistic director for Louis Vuitton. In 2017, Edward Enninful was appointed editor-in-chief of Vogue. 

In this busy and exciting time in fashion’s history, Whispering Smith look at some of the biggest trends that have defined the decade. 

The 1990s made a comeback

The 2010s saw a retro comeback of 90s-inspired styles, with many of the 90s grunge looks coming back into fashion. Leopard print came back in a big way and is still hugely prevalent across high street and online retailers today. Even neon became a huge trend in the late 2010s after being everywhere in the 80s and 90s.

Mel B – 1997 Brit Awards Leopard Print

Little details like choker necklaces, scrunchies and tiny sunglasses have all been a not-so-subtle nod to the style of the 90s, and people have absolutely loved it.

Millennial pink

By the mid-2010s, millennial pink became a huge thing and the colour seemed to dominate everything. It can be traced back to catwalks in 2012, and was the colour scheme for Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel. In 2016, Pantone named Rose Quartz as its colour of the year.

Millenium Pink – Kerry Washington

It was seen all over Instagram feeds, with celebs and influencers creating a dusky, soft pink theme across their photos. Thanks to this, millennial pink became a go-to colour for many fashion designers through the 2010s and it quickly became the shade of the moment.

Streetwear merging with luxury fashion

During the latter half of the 2010s, the rise of streetwear was inescapable. Even some luxury designers began cashing in on the trend, blending high and low fashion to give urban styles a more luxury feel. 

The streetwear industry proved its worth when Supreme was valued at $1 billion in 2017, and luxury streetwear brand Off-White was deemed the hottest fashion brand in the world. Many staple streetwear items such as trainers, hoodies and tracksuits have been given a luxury makeover from designers like Givenchy, Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton.

Nike Off-White Virgil Abloh Equality t-shirt

Gender fluid fashion

The 2010s were a time of societal change and wider acceptance of diversity. While there is still a long way to go, the fashion industry has begun to recognise the varying perceptions of gender. By the end of the decade, many brands were combining casting of two genders in one catwalk.

Gender Neutral Fashion

Gender neutral clothing had a bigger impact, with tailored pieces, utilitarian trends and streetwear offering wearable options no matter what gender you identify as. As a global society, we have become much more accepting of concepts that go against the “norm”, whether that be plus size models or a male actor in a gown.


Beastie Boys VW necklace

Logomania was huge in the 90s, when logos were emblazoned garishly across clothing. Branding found its place in fashion as a way to denote wealth and status, but it quickly waned, particularly in the US after the recession.  

Now, luxury fashion has made a return to splashing large logos over everything; think Gucci tracksuits with the repeated double G pattern, or Balenciaga coats and scarves with the brand name printed across them. 

Flush the Fashion

Editor of Flush the Fashion and Flush Magazine. I love music, art, film, travel, food, tech and cars. Basically, everything this site is about.

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